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Optimum Physique Incorporated, Appellant v. Best Brothers Auto & Truck Repair

New York SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


April 30, 2013

OPTIMUM PHYSIQUE INCORPORATED, APPELLANT,
v.
BEST BROTHERS AUTO & TRUCK REPAIR, RESPONDENT.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, First District (Philip Goglas, J.), entered May 27, 2011.

Optimum Physique Inc. v Best Bros. Auto & Truck Repair

Appellate Term, Second Department

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on April 30, 2013

PRESENT: NICOLAI, P.J., IANNACCI and LaSALLE, JJ

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this commercial claims action to recover the sum of $5,000 based on defendant's alleged conversion of plaintiff's 1998 Ford van. After a non-jury trial, the District Court dismissed the action. Upon a review of the record, we find that the judgment provided the parties with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UDCA 1804-A, 1807-A; see Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 [2000]; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 [2000]).

The decision of a fact-finding court should not be disturbed upon appeal unless it is obvious that the court's conclusions could not be reached under any fair interpretation of the evidence (see Claridge Gardens v Menotti, 160 AD2d 544 [1990]). Furthermore, the determination of a trier of fact as to issues of credibility is given substantial deference, as a trial court's opportunity to observe and evaluate the testimony and demeanor of the witnesses affords it a better perspective from which to assess their credibility (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 [1992]; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 [1991]). The deference accorded to a trial court's credibility determinations applies with even greater force to judgments rendered in the Commercial Claims Part of the court given the limited standard of review (see UDCA 1807-A; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d at 126). Here, the District Court properly dismissed the action, as plaintiff failed to prove defendant's alleged conversion of his van by a preponderance of the evidence and, in any event, failed to present any proof of damages. As the record supports the District Court's determination, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.

Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

Nicolai, P.J., Iannacci and LaSalle, JJ., concur. Decision Date: April 30, 2013

20130430

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